Police release picture of arsonist who set fire to a vulnerable woman's oven hob at her flat

A “spiteful” arsonist who set fire to a vulnerable woman’s oven hob at her supported accommodation flat has been given a custodial sentence.

By Jon Cooper
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:50 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard on January 14 how Anthony Blackwood, aged 42, of Scotia Drive, Manor, Sheffield, near Deep Pit, forced the woman out of her own home while he and another woman stayed in the flat overnight before the oven hob was torched.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Blackwood: “This criminality was committed while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

He added: “The victim was particularly vulnerable and you sought to take advantage of her by setting fire to her property.”

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Pictured is Anthony Blackwood, aged 42, of of Scotia Drive, Manor, Sheffield, near Deep Pit, who was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court to 12 months of custody after he pleaded guilty to arson and to possessing a bladed article but given the time he has spent remanded in custody he is now expected to be released.

Ian West, prosecuting, said Blackwood and a woman arrived at the Victoria Court Housing Project flat in Sheffield but the occupant felt unwelcome so she went to a neighbouring flat and despite alerting police they decided not to act after they heard coughing from the property and had concerns about Covid.

Mr West added that Blackwood was finally seen on CCTV about 8am leaving the flat as an alarm was activated and the flat was found to be full of smoke and some of the woman’s possessions were found to have been set alight in a box on the hob of her oven.

Blackwood, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to arson after the incident on March 27, 2020, and he also admitted a separate offence of possessing a Stanley knife in a public place after he had been stopped on Haymarket, in Sheffield, by police on February 14, 2021, while he was on bail for the arson matter.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Blackwood: “You took advantage - very considerable advantage - of a vulnerable woman in a housing project. She was effectively expelled from her house and you, for reasons not at all clear, set fire to her property. Mercifully the damage was very limited indeed.

"That was a spiteful crime visited upon a vulnerable woman.”

He stressed: “It was spiteful and somewhat venomous towards this woman.”

Judge Richardson sentenced Blackwood to 12 months of custody but he is expected to be released because of the time he has already served behind bars on remand.

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